ES.269 | Spring 2009 | Undergraduate
Passing: Flexibility in Race and Gender


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 1 session / week, 2 hours / session

About the Program

The Experimental Study Group (ESG) is an alternative academic program that offers experimental, small group learning in the core freshmen subjects within a community-based setting. This course, as part of the ESG Seminar Series, offers students the opportunity to participate in a small discussion-based class taught by an MIT upperclassman under the guidance of a faculty supervisor.


There are no prerequisites for this course.


In this course, we will read a number of primary sources, both fiction and autobiography, as well as some amount of theoretical or analytical text. These texts are arranged roughly in terms of chronology, but in terms of when the stories take place in time, not when they were written.  Additionally, I’ve tried to start with works that look at both race and gender passing, and then zoom in on those and other types of identity re/construction as we move forward.

For the most part, we will just be reading and discussing. The last week of class will be taken up by student presentations; you can pick any related topic or work you like and come up with something exciting to share with the class. There will be more information on this as the semester progresses.

In the first class we will establish some shared context through terminology, a bit of history, and conversation about our own local context.


Students are required to do all of the assigned readings and participate in class discussions. Also, you are expected to complete a final project, which you will present in the final days of the course. You may pursue any topic related to this course in which you are interested.


Seminars taught in this format are all graded Pass / Fail and receive 1/2 of the academic credit assigned to regular academic classes.

Course Info
As Taught In
Spring 2009
Learning Resource Types
notes Lecture Notes
group_work Projects with Examples